Eli Lilly and Co.'s acquisition of Novartis AG's animal health unit is the latest and largest in a series of animal health investments by Lilly, which have yielded a veterinary business with comparable profit margins to its human therapeutic side. The Novartis deal will enrich Lilly's Elanco Animal Health's companion animal offerings, add new areas like aquaculture and increase its commercial presence in Europe and emerging markets.

While Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline plc swapped assets last week to build up their strong areas and offload those where they can't be leaders, Lilly's portion of the transaction is solely bullish (see Cover Story).